Articles Posted in Nursing Negligence

victor-garcia-718191-unsplash-copy-200x300Discussions about the use of cameras in nursing homes in Orange County and throughout Southern California have become common as lawmakers, safety advocates, and family members seek innovative solutions to prevent nursing home abuse and neglect and to gain evidence to hold perpetrators accountable. Yet, are cameras in residents’ rooms the best way to stop nursing home abuse, or are there significant ethical issues that we need to consider before we decide that the benefits of “granny cams,” as these cameras are commonly called, outweigh their limitations? 

A recent article in McKnight’s Long-Term Care News addresses the ethics of “granny cams” in nursing homes and suggests that more research needs to be done concerning these tools before they become widespread.

Are Nursing Home Cameras Ethical, or do They Invade Residents’ Privacy?

rawpixel-487102-unsplash-copy-300x207One of the most common reasons that seniors sustain serious injuries from nursing home neglect is understaffing. When skilled nursing facilities do not have enough staff members, there are not enough people to provide the necessary care to patients and residents at the facility. Both California state law and federal law require skilled nursing facilities to have a specific staff-to-patient ratio to help ensure that seniors are getting the care they need. However, according to a recent article in The New York Times, many nursing homes across the country have been overstating their staffing numbers in order to be in compliance with state and federal regulations. As a result, patients have been suffering from nursing home abuse and neglect.

Federal Data Shows Inadequate Staffing Levels at Many Nursing Homes

For many years, according to the article, numerous family members of seniors in skilled nursing facilities have worried that staffing levels were insufficient. As it turns out, many of those suspicions and fears have some validity to them. Indeed, “on the worst staffed days at an average facility, the new data show, on-duty personnel cared for nearly twice as many residents as they did when the staffing roster was fullest.” Records also showed that there were significant fluctuations in staffing numbers at many facilities from day to day, with some days having adequate staff while others had grossly inadequate staff on hand to meet the needs of the residents.

parker-byrd-139348-copy-300x200Can Yelp help Valley Center seniors avoid nursing homes with histories of elder abuse or neglect? Most residents of San Diego County think of Yelp as a crowd-sourced set of reviews for businesses like restaurants or retail establishments. However, according to a recent article in The New York Times, Yelp also might be able to provide helpful information about nursing homes and assisted-living facilities to patients and their families who are looking for places with high ratings.

Given that nursing home abuse and neglect is a serious problem across Southern California and throughout the state, using an unlikely source such as Yelp to find reviews can not hurt. As the article points out, “gerontologists at the University of Southern California have been looking into Yelp nursing home reviews and think they make a useful addition to the homework any prospective resident or family member needs to undertake.”

Using Crowd-Sourced Information to Choose a Skilled Nursing Facility

rawpixel-487102-unsplash-copy-300x207In Poway and elsewhere in the state of California, elderly residents of nursing homes are facing unfair evictions and what has been termed “patient dumping.” In many cases, these evictions may amount to nursing home abuse or neglect. According to a press release from the organization, the AARP Foundation filed a lawsuit against a facility in Northern California after it unlawfully evicted an 83-year-old patient. The lawsuit emphasizes the growing problem of illegal nursing home evictions in California and across the country, and it also offers an opportunity for families to think carefully about the type of skilled nursing facility that is providing the care for an elderly family member.

Lawsuit Alleges Illegal Eviction of Nursing Home Resident

The AARP Foundation explains that the resident at the center of the lawsuit, Gloria Single, had been residing at Pioneer House in the Sacramento area until she was evicted in March of last year. Single suffers from Alzheimer’s disease, and she requires particular care in a skilled nursing facility. The lawsuit alleges that Pioneer House, the RHF Foundation, and corporate affiliates are responsible for “illegally dump[ing]” Single at a hospital, which meant that the defendants “willfully violat[ed] a State order requiring that they allow her to return home.”

casey-horner-353950-copy-153x300What types of safety protections are in place for patients at San Marcos nursing homes? While we recently discussed elder safety investigations in San Diego County, it turns out that facilities across the state of California are not doing enough to protect seniors against nursing home abuse in the first place. In other words, although San Diego County’s investigations may be a model for other regions of the country, the state ranks last when it comes to elder abuse protections designed to prevent abuse and neglect, according to a recent report in WalletHub.

Need for States to Take Steps to Prevent Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect

As the report explains, “elder abuse affects as many as 5 million people per year, and 96 percent of all cases go unreported.” Given that a large portion of the population is currently age 65 or older—and that the population in that age group is expected to almost double by the year 2050—it is particularly important to think about preventive measures so that elder abuse does not occur. While enforcement methods are significant in the shorter term, the goal should be to eradicate, inasmuch as possible, the risks of abuse for seniors living in nursing homes and assisted-living facilities. The report ultimately suggests that the impetus for this needs to be on individual states.

max-larochelle-421822-copy-240x300The recent hurricanes in Texas and Florida have illuminated serious deficiencies in many nursing homes and assisted-living facilities, according to a report from National Public Radio. More specifically, many skilled nursing facilities are not prepared to handle an emergency situation, from a power outage in a severe storm to structural damage caused by a natural disaster such as an earthquake. If nursing homes, assisted-living facilities, and RCFEs in Carlsbad are not prepared to keep their residents safe in the event of one of these emergency situations, then elderly patients and residents can suffer injuries as a result of elder neglect.

Nursing home neglect often arises in situations where staff members at facilities did not intend to do harm to patients, but due to understaffing and other problems, neglect results in serious and sometimes fatal injuries.

Failing to Prepare for “Basic Contingencies”

daan-stevens-282446-1-copy-300x191If you have an elderly loved one who currently resides in an Escondido nursing home or assisted living facility (or anywhere else in San Diego County), it is important to properly assess the risks of elder abuse and neglect. According to a recent report from NPR, particularly serious cases of nursing home abuse may go unreported. We know that many seniors sustain severe injuries as a result of nursing home abuse and neglect, and that there are likely many more cases that occur than are reported.

Federal Report Raises Concerns About Severe Cases of Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect

Based on information contained in an alert from the Office of Inspector General in the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), however, that number might be even higher than some commentators have feared. According to the NPR report, the alert noted that “cases went unreported despite the fact that state and federal law require that serious cases of abuse in nursing homes be turned over to the police.” Investigators with HHS emphasized that the alert was issued in order to demand “immediate fixes.”

ian-schneider-95541-300x200For anyone in Carlsbad who has an elderly loved one residing in a nearby nursing home, it can be difficult to learn about risks related to certain types of medications. In some situations, however, the use of certain drugs in nursing homes may significantly increase a senior’s risk for pneumonia. In particular, patients with Alzheimer’s disease may be particularly susceptible. While we often hear about the dangers of over-medication and the off-label use of antipsychotic drugs, discussed relatively recently in a story by NPR, it is not as common for us to hear about prescription sedatives and pneumonia risks among patients with dementia. According to a recent article in Medical News Today, new research suggests that patients with dementia may be at greater risk for developing pneumonia, especially when they are prescribed sedatives such as benzodiazepines.

If a dementia patient on certain prescription medications develops pneumonia, could it be a result of nursing home neglect?

Nursing Home Prescriptions and Elder Neglect

Residents of Valley Center with elderly loved ones in nursing homes or assisted-living facilities should pay close attention to a recent case concerning the death of a patient at a Northern California facility. According to an article in the Napa Valley Register, a lawsuit alleges that a 91-year-old patient at the Golden LivingCenter died as a result of nursing home neglect. The lawsuit contends that nursing home negligence led the patient, Jeanne Roney, to “suffer multiple falls and injuries including scabies, a urinary tract infection, and malnutrition.” Nine days after a scabies diagnosis, the patient died.

The patient’s family alleges that the facility failed to provide a sufficient number of staff, and that it also failed to properly train the staff members that it did have. Due to such negligence, the family argues that Roney sustained fatal injuries. How is this claim likely to play out? What is required for a successful nursing home negligence lawsuit in Valley Center, California?

Details of the Recent Allegations Against Golden LivingCenter

ian-schneider-95541-300x200How much decision-making power does a Chula Vista nursing home resident get when it comes to his or her quality of care? According to a recent article from Kaiser Health News, seniors in Southern California and across the country may be able to have more autonomy through shifts in federal regulations. As the article explains, around 1.4 million seniors living in nursing homes “now can be more involved in their care under the most wide-ranging revision of federal rules for such facilities in 25 years.”

What does it mean for older adults in nursing homes to have more autonomy over their schedules and care? Could such shifts in care perhaps reduce the rate of nursing home abuse in Southern California and throughout the country?

Shift in Federal Rules Focuses on “Person-Centered Care”